You only have to take one look at the travel section of my blog to see that we love visiting snowy countries. There’s nothing better than climbing white-capped peaks or playing in soft powder. We managed a little bit of cross-country skiing when we were in Norway last year but we plan to hit the slopes properly at some point, we’ve just been too busy booking hot holidays. I know – shock horror!!
I haven’t been skiing on a mountain in years, but if I remember one thing, nothing kills the fun of a skiing holiday faster than crowds! If you’re looking for a winter adventure off the beaten track, then you should check out these hotspots. Forget Switzerland or France (I’ll always have a soft spot for you, Chamonix), for a truly unique skiing experience, try one of these lesser-known destinations:
Close your eyes and picture Morocco. If you’re imagining bazaars, camels, and desert landscapes, think again! There’s more to this North African destination than Arabian nights fantasies. Head two hours south of Marrakech, and you’ll find yourself in a completely different landscape.
Ouikameden is the highest ski resort on the continent. If you’ve been skiing for a long time, it might feel like a trip back in time. Haggling is common, and if the single chairlift which will take you up to 3,258m fails, then you’ll have to find alternative transport up to the top…donkey. If this appeals to your adventurous spirit, then you’ll be pleased to learn that lift passes are far cheaper than in Europe, and you won’t be surrounded by other holidaymakers.
Malam Jabba, Pakistan
Another country that might not be high on your list of skiing destinations, Pakistan has a hidden gem located in the Swat Valley. Pakistan is growing in popularity as a skiing destination and the Malam Jabba ski resort is the only one in the country and is popular throughout the year – when the snow melts, it doubles as a great spot for hiking.
For a truly special, off-the-beaten-track experience, it’s hard to beat Malam Jabba. The nearest airport, Peshawar, is six and a half hours away, so just getting there is an adventure in itself.
Skiing is more popular than you might have realized in Japan. Niseko, on the island of Hokkaido, is one of the best of the country’s 600 ski resorts. For a taste of something a little bit different, try tree skiing or even night skiing – you will find extensive floodlights should you wish to try this!
You’re guaranteed an adventure here, but again, make sure you’ve got travel insurance before setting off. Japanese health care is some of the best in the world, but in a worst-case scenario, it can be costly without adequate cover.
If you’re looking for a shorter break or you don’t want to travel that far, then Andorra is a great option. This was the first place I ever went skiing, and I completely fell in love.
For older thrill-seekers, this is without a doubt the best choice for a bargain holiday, as lift passes are completely free for over-70s. Not entirely relevant to me, personally but hopefully it’s useful to somebody else reading this.
Wherever you decide to go on holiday, don’t leave anything to chance. You’ll be saving money on the slopes, so you’ve got no excuse for not picking up some travel insurance. I get mine through Halifax and it’s ideal for all of our trips. Shop around and find the best deal for you, whether it’s family cover or travel insurance for those over 70, make sure you don’t go skiing without it.